Over the last six weeks, my Beloved and I have been participating in a class on C. S. Lewis. The moderator (a physician) is a man whose love for Lewis is like an infectious disease − communicated orally. It was such a pleasure to be part of this class!
Today (in spite of the nasty weather), we enjoyed warm conversation discussing a sermon, The Weight of Glory, which Lewis delivered at an Oxford church on June 8, 1941. The timing of this speech coincided with the middle years of World War II, less than two weeks after the British had successfully sunk the German battleship Bismarck and on the heels of Germany’s air assault that failed to bring Britain to its knees during the Battle of Britain. In other words, these were generally sober days and the outcome of the war was still in doubt.
The Weight of Glory is rich with insight and reasoned discussion. Whether you’re a Lewis fan or foe, please read it and reflect on his points. It’s worthy of study.
Not surprisingly, Lewis touches on longing, the sehnsucht about which he often wrote. In this discourse, he makes an early point that “if we are made for heaven, the desire for our proper place will be already in us, but not yet attached to the true object, and will even appear as the rival of that object.” He goes on to develop this idea through the rest of the sermon.
I suspect I may ruffle some feathers as I agree with Lewis that we are made for heaven. This is (in my view) the reason why human beings (no matter how separated they are from faith and religion) still hold to some personal view of right and wrong (absolutes). Because we are made for heaven, even little children have a keen sense of what is “right” (and most especially, what is “wrong”) − long before they’re capable of articulating why. Right and wrong has been embedded in the soul … by our Creator.
I frequently read posts by agnostics and atheists in which they share their reasoning for holding to their particular worldview. And yes, I’ve read numerous posts from formerly religious individuals who have rejected faith. Okay.
I’ve even gotten into hot water here on my blog for comments considered intolerant or unkind. Again, okay.
To date, however, the question still begs: why absolutes? why right and wrong? why a code of moral behavior if (as Dr. Carl Sagan famously claimed) “the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be?” In other words, why would anyone choose to be moral? Not for eternal rewards, certainly.
The sonnet I’ve chosen for today is one I wrote a number of years back. Please don’t construe the lines as argumentative. They pose an honest, rational question. And when I refer to “primal goo,” that’s not a put-down. “Primordial soup” is a term used to describe theories of origin, but the term didn’t fit well into my iambic pentameter structure.
I love the way Lewis concludes his discourse, The Weight of Glory. He states: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” Again, I agree. Knowing that you are (as I am) “made for heaven,” the joy of the Lord is set before us as a choice, a potential for desire fulfilled. Lewis argues this desire is one “no natural happiness will satisfy.”
Why should we be satisfied making mud pies when a holiday at the shore would be desire truly and completely fulfilled?